GBC Publishes its Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)

The latest (long-awaited) document in the suite of Evidence Base documents has been published.

The SHMA provides (or is meant to provide) a clearer insight into the need for housing and the market conditions in the Strategic Housing Market.

The SHMA website is live or the documents can be found at the links below:





Analysis of this document is available HERE with a view to responding to the Council on or before 21st February.

initial thoughts from first reading are set out below:

a) too much reliance is placed on data for Guildford instead of the entire Market Area;

b) the Waverley and Woking housing numbers seem to be taken as read (and GL Hearn seem to have a conflict of interest between their representation of Waverley’s housing need and their preparation of Guildford’s SHMA); and, perhaps most importantly

c) perhaps as evidence of that conflict, GL Hearn seem to be preparing Guildford to increase its housing ‘need’ figure threefold while recommending to Waverley a disproportionately lower figure.

d) the SHMA is very confused in its approach to NEED (objectively assessed) and DEMAND

e) the SHMA pays lip service to influences from Rushmoor and Surrey Heath and (despite Guildford Borough’s 12 railway stations) does not regard commuting as sustainable!

The document will take some careful analysis to interrogate its assumptions and conclusions and to draw inferences.

PLEASE NOTE: the questions signposted as the Council’s consultation (as reported in the Guildford Dragon) are not particularly balanced or helpful:

• Should we be seeking to maximise housing delivery to meet the need for housing that has been identified?
• Should we be trying to reduce the cost of housing by boosting housebuilding?
• Should we try to deliver more affordable housing?
• What are the implications of not building enough homes?

In commenting on the Draft SHMA (which, for some reason my predictive text system seems to keep rewriting as SHAM!) I will endeavour to indicate my responses to these four questions.

Always remember that to have a say, you need to register your own comments and not to rely on someone else (even if you whole-heartedly agree with their point of view).

Author: GuildfordPlan

GuildfordPlan is a 'whiteboard' set up by Julian Lyon to think out loud as part of the process of preparing the Guildford Society representations to the various Local Plan Consultations

5 thoughts on “GBC Publishes its Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)”

  1. 1:/ No this maximisation requires 475 hectres – which are in all reality 160,00 addtitional vehciles is unsustainable due to vehilce polution
    2:/ Simply building more house to reduce cost is illogical and irrational thought process as it has never happened in reality or practice that simply adding to housing stock reduces prices until the Irish situation arrises where whole estates lie empty.
    3:/Houseing will never be ‘affordable’ in the south East – it simply will not happened – only council houses will keep costs down and the more council houses you build the more you will need in a never ending spiral of building
    4:/ People will simply find an empty home in another location and occupy that one –

    there is a difference between I WANT and I need the house building process should be for the “I needs!” not the “I wants!”

  2. The SEP figure for Waverley was 250 homes p.a. so I obviously need to draw your attention to paragraph 8.20 of the Waverley draft SHMA of August 2013 which states
    “Drawing the range of evidence together, we conclude that we can define a broad range within
    which housing need would lie – 385 to 520 homes per annum; but the evidence converges on
    provision of around 470 homes per annum as being an objective assessment of full need for market
    and affordable housing.”
    Will whoever wrote this please make the necessary corrections to your post in relation to the information relating to the Waverley SHMA and the recommended housing increase as soon as possible.

  3. In my response to the SMHA draft I said-
    ‘GL Hearn are property developers, do you really think the people of Guildford are so stupid that we are to accept a survey on required new homes prepared by such an organisation.?’

    Their answer states ‘ G L Hearn are not property developers.’

    However, please check this link out I quote a section of their blurb ‘We act for many of the leading developers and are currently advising on schemes totalling over 3m sq ft. We have a team of over 100 people directly involved in the development sector’

    I think this just about sums things up and explains why people are so very angry about the way this SMHA has been prepared.

    1. Understand the comment but also note that most firms of advisers act for both Local Authorities and Developers. My issue is not with their credentials or their objectivity. My issue is with the core data from ONS and their methodology in using data over a short term when that ‘short term’ was unrepresentative due to market conditions (among other things). I have not seen the killer evidence that shows the proposed SHMA figures are even in the right ballpark.

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